Where does your time go?

Over the last few weeks I have been working on a project that is almost finished. And it has been taking all my time. Face Book is something I only glance at to check for messages, Readwave and another writers’ network I belong to, I have no time to read. Blogging is reduced to posting the poem I have been fiddling with when I should have been writing pages of manuscript, and Twitter provides light relief in the exchange of micropoems. Though since I have nothing to plug yet, Twitter’s use as a part of my extensive promotional platform is not yet evident.

I worry though, that if I don’t post, chat, tweet, or exchange meaningless banter on FB I will sink into oblivion, my author persona will go into meltdown and nobody will want to read my books. Ever.

But will it? To keep up with all of these different forms of writerly distraction is a full-time occupation. Where do I get the time to write? Do other writers find it so easy to switch from their WIP about, say, paranormal experiences in eighteenth century Poland, to chatting about cats on FB, blogging about the slugs in the garden, or tweeting poetry about trees and seagulls? I know I can’t do it. When I write I am totally absorbed in a particular atmosphere, historical period, and characters who have become real people. I can’t dot about from one way of thinking to another.

I am only writing this post because I have finished an overhaul of the entire text and I’m drawing breath before going back over it again. I freely admit to putting off all the unpleasant, but essential jobs, to cooking boring, samey meals because I can’t waste time thinking up new, interesting things. I don’t go out unless I have to, and hate talking to people because it distracts me from the conversations I’m having in my head.

So, how do other authors treat their social platforms? How do you reconcile plunging into a unique world, creating it block by block, and chatting on FB? Do you set aside a certain time of day to devote to ‘catching up’ even if you’re on a roll with the story you’re writing? What about family and professional life; where do they fit in? Do you sleep? I’d be interested to know how it’s done.

Published by

Jane Dougherty

I used to do lots of things I didn't much enjoy. Now I am officially a writer. It's what I always wanted to be.

14 thoughts on “Where does your time go?”

  1. Same concerns here. In the flow of writing all else recedes, though I manage to ring-fence my bread and butter work, maintain minimalist social graces, toss up a stir fry, and relate to a few catching blogs, FB and Twitter posts. I’ve no idea how this is going to work once my first book is published, ’cause by then I’ll be editing the sequel. I think it’s readers we need to make contact with. Authors are all in the same boat. And reading other works and reviewing takes time, a slow process, for me, anyway. So we need to be supportive but patient with each other. I admire writers who cope while still have children living at home.

    1. That is another thing that concerns me, that almost all the ‘contacts’ made through being a writer are other writers. As another ‘contact’ pointed out the other day, those writers are not necessarily your friends, they can be at best your rivals, and at worst your deadliest enemies. How do you reach readers though? Even more time-consuming, probing unexplored territory. I have seen it suggested that you shoot spam at readers of a successful author in your genre. Can’t see me doing that somehow.

  2. Great blog post, Jane. It’s hard for me to find time for everything, too. I’m trying to edit three books, learn how to format books for self-publishing, read and review other authors’ books, keep up with Facebook and Twitter, and post author interviews, etc. Plus, I’m helping my husband with a restoration project (volunteering at a historical society). I would love to work on a new book, especially the third book in my mystery series, but I don’t have time right now. I’m relieved that authors have been patient with me when I take a long time to review their books or to send them interview questionnaires or to write guest blog posts for their blogs.

    1. You seem to keep up admirably, Susan! Interesting you say that with all of the other networking stuff going on (leaving aside the restoration project) you don’t have time to write, do you never feel tempted to let the FB, blog, Twitter stuff go for a while and concentrate on writing? Or like me, do you dread what might happen?

  3. I find it very tricky to do the cooking, cleaning, gardening side of things – I truly feel that they are an imposition but yes the Internetty stuff – I really should be more disciplined but I have commeittments there are well. It is hard but right at the moment I am waiting for the Muse – my last book is kindled and I have done a couple of minor shorts and that’s all but I think it’s because we are decorating the lounge and life in general is in turmoil, not that really does cause me to blank as far as writing is concerned. I have to have a tidy, calm place to write

    1. I can write (I do write) in a midden, as long as people leave me alone. The internet is a terrible distraction, but once you start using it, not to keep checking in is well nigh impossible. Maybe I’ll see how it functions when I finally have something to sell.

  4. I don’t have any answers but I feel just the same. I keep saying, everyday, I will get back to writing my book but because I know I need to really focus on it I won’t be able to keep up with everything else… housework, gardening, my blog, FB, paying bills, socialising etc. So I keep putting it off to the next day and the next. Nothing changes. I need to really make the jump and do it otherwise it will be another year gone by and still nothing. I don’t any distraction! Maybe this isn’t a good thing 😉

    1. That’s what I mean really. Is there really time to do all the other stuff we’re meant to do as well as write, and keep a life together? Before I decided to write in earnest, the running of the household and a bit of free-lancing filled all of my time. Now that I write, there seems to be time for nothing else at all. I’d say sod the housework and write. if the house is messy, don’t invite people round, more time for writing!

  5. I find it all very tiring, the self promotion thing. I work full tine and due to a recent loss in the family, it’s proving a bit much at the moment. I find my writing has suffered as a result, since I use Facebook at the moment, as a distraction.

    1. FB is a distraction, bit like moving pictures or goldfish in a bowl, easy just to let it scroll in front of your eyes. It is hard though to focus on writing, to get completely immersed in it when your thoughts are already occupied with something else.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s